CBC New Media Group has been chosen to join a pilot project funded by a $1 million Facebook grant being managed by two key industry associations — The Local Media Consortium and the Local Media Association. The organizations will “provide dedicated resources, host advertiser focus groups and grant money” to the seven winners to enable the organizations to expanded their branded content program and increase revenue.
New Media General Manager John Conway and Director of Sales & Operations Chris Weatherly teamed up to draft and submit the application.
“Our application focused on the question of how do we grow the success we have seen with branded content initiatives such as Project No Rest and the City of Wilson,” explained Conway. “These are both six-figure spends. We believe our participation will help us learn how to better market our capabilities so that we can attract more of this type of business.”
He continued, “We want to be included in more RFPs (request for proposals) from brands and agencies looking for a partner who can really drive awareness and prove ROI. We also may look at how to scale video production associated with branded campaigns.”
LMC and LMA announced the winners at a national conference on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in New York. The seven winners also included ABC Owned Television Station Group, The Dallas Morning News, Graham Media Group, McClatchy, Shaw Media and The Texas Tribune.
More than 36 applications were submitted from around the world. The selection process included five rounds of judging to narrow down to the winners.
“We … can’t wait to see how this funding will help local media companies increase revenue and audience engagement by expanding their existing programs, ultimately developing proven industry models,” said Branded Content Project Lead Julia Campbell. “We are grateful to the Facebook Journalism Project for investing in this one-of-a-kind initiative and recognizing the importance of sustaining local journalism.”
The Branded Content Project stems from a $1 million investment from the Facebook Journalism Project. LMC and LMA partnered to develop the opportunity for local newsrooms.
“Branded content uses the strength of storytelling to provide a valuable benefit to advertisers while increasing audience engagement and revenue for local media publishers,” announced the project coordinators. “This powerful revenue stream has shown to be a success for many media organizations. The branded content project is designed to help facilitate additional growth, engagement and success for more publishers of all shapes and sizes.”
The winners, which come from a variety of organizations, will receive tools to complete their submitted projects including in-market focus group research, expert consultation, opportunity to collaborate with other winners, and the grant funding from the Facebook Journalism Project.
“Sponsored content has been a rapidly growing revenue source for our owned-and-operated platforms as well as with our digital marketing arm, WRAL Digital Solutions,” said Conway. “We believe the Alpha Group will help us accelerate that growth through research, collaboration and additional resources.”
About the Local Media Association
The Local Media Association is a thriving and innovative association that serves local media companies (newspapers, TV, radio, directories, digital news sites, and more) as well as research and development partners in the industry. LMA assists local media companies with the digital transition via cutting-edge programs, conferences, webinars, research and training. They are intensely focused on helping local media companies discover new and sustainable business models. Learn more at http://localmedia.org.
About the Local Media Consortium
The Local Media Consortium delivers economic value through strategic partnerships on behalf of more than 80 local media companies in top markets across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, and includes more than 2,500 outlets. By harnessing the combined volume and scale of its members, the LMC reduces costs and increases revenue with technology and service providers like Google, Facebook, Monster and others. The aggregated LMC audience footprint spans 160 million unique monthly visitors and its member companies serve more than four billion pageviews to consumers. More information is available at www.localmediaconsortium.com.